Compel Modi, others to disclose role in riots conspiracy: Setalvad

‘Inquiry commission should have ensured that civil servants, policemen filed second affidavits'

Updated - November 28, 2021 09:27 pm IST

Published - August 27, 2010 01:45 am IST - AHMEDABAD:

The secretary of the Mumbai-based Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), Teesta Setalvad, has demanded that the G.T. Nanavati-Akshay Mehta judicial inquiry commission — which is probing the Godhra train carnage and post-Godhra communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 — compel Chief Minister Narendra Modi and several others to compulsorily file affidavits disclosing their “role in the conspiracy” during the riots.

The others that Ms. Setalvad wants the commission to issue directives to include the then Chief Minister V.B. Subba Rao, then Health Minister and presently Speaker of the State Assembly Ashok Bhatt, then Urban Development Minister I. K. Jadeja, then Minister of State for Home Gordhan Jhadaphia, members of the State Assembly Haresh Bhatt, Kaushik Patel and Naran Patel, and some others.

In her oral submission before the commission here on Thursday, Ms. Setalvad said the extended terms of reference of the commission — authorising it to probe the roles of the Chief Minister and other ministers — should have ensured that senior civil servants and policemen filed second affidavits on the roles of the Chief Minister and the others.

She particularly named the then Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Ashok Narayan, then Director-General of Police A.K. Chakravarthi, then Ahmedabad Police Commissioner P.C. Pande, and several others who could have “exposed” the Chief Minister and other Ministers, but “consciously did not file the second affidavits.”

Destruction of records

Ms. Setalvad also asked for an inquiry into the destruction of original police control room records by the Gujarat Police in 2007, when the commission was in existence and the Supreme Court had been seized of the matter since 2002.

She demanded that the commission call for the entire records of the telephone exchange at the Ahmedabad Police Commissionerate, a set of special phone numbers manned by the Ahmedabad police control room staff with direct connections to some senior police officers, and the telephone records of the concerned police stations and chowkies. She said these records should be summoned, examined and analysed.

Ms. Setalvad's submissions were an elaboration of the detailed documentary evidence filed by her before the commission on May 14 and 24 this year.

A release issued by the CJP said that Justice Nanavati observed that the commission would probe the alleged destruction of evidence by the State.

Report on media coverage

Ms. Setalvad also pointed out that the Editor's Guild report on the media and press coverage at that time needed to be examined, especially in connection with the transcript of Mr. Modi's comments on a television channel talking about the “action and reaction” theory.

In this report, she maintained that the fact that Mr. Modi had selectively congratulated those newspaper barons who had inflamed passions and not those who had played a responsible role was also relevant.

The CJP submissions were also annexed with detailed analysis and graphs of individual call records and the call records of Mr. Modi's office and residence and those of several senior police officers.

Ms. Setalvad also claimed that the then Joint Commissioner of Ahmedabad Police, M.K. Tandon, had under oath made contradictory statements before the commission and before the trial court hearing the Gulberg Society carnage case, which needed to be examined.

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